A New Publishing Blog

amethyst angel logo green

A week ago, I started a brand new blog, over on my publishing website – TheAmethystAngel.com. I am undertaking the 30 Day Blogging Challenge on that blog to get it going, and have had a wonderful response to the 7 posts I have put there so far. I am blogging about all the different steps and elements there are to independently publishing your own book. Each blog post will cover an aspect of self-publishing. I have so far covered some tips on self-editing, whether Indie Authors should have publishing imprints, how to send documents to your Kindle and some of my favourite uses for Scapple.

Over time, there will be enough posts on there to assist authors in every step of their Indie Publishing journey. I am writing posts somewhat randomly, choosing topics that come up and that I am inspired by each day. But I am categorising the posts so that it’s easy to find what you need easily.

I am opening the door to questions, so if you are an Indie Author and you want to ask me something, then email it to me at theamethystangel@hotmail.co.uk and I will create a post to answer it, as I’m sure many others are likely to have had similar questions.

 

Adventures with Astrid – January

In December I began my Adventure with Astrid, in my attempt to change my haphazard ways and become a more organised person for 2015. The reasons for this were to get my life in order and to make things happen that require some kind of long-term planning. The first step I took was to buy myself a gorgeous planner, who I named Astrid. In my planner I have sections for everything. Addresses (I’m always losing my address book) diary, goals and dreams, to-do list, and notes from books I’m reading and ideas I have.

Astrid has stayed faithfully by my side since I bought her, and since the beginning of the year, I have been filling her up every day with things I want to do, but I also have used her to form some daily habits that I have wanted to have, but never got round to creating.

Some things have been blanked out to protect the innocent. Hehe

Some things have been blanked out to protect the innocent. Hehe

Having Astrid by my side has helped me to take part in a 30 Day Blogging Challenge, of which I have done every day for the last 19 days on my author blog, and I have also begun a new blog on my business website, all about Indie Publishing, and I am on day 4 there.

I have started the habit of meditating daily, going for a walk every day, reading a book every week, reading through my Love List every other day and writing one thing I am grateful for every day.

My Sunday walk in the woods

My Sunday walk in the woods

In terms of long-term plans, however, that still hasn’t really happened. I had a session with the Time Doctor, Mike Gardner, and he helped me to realise that I am a creative person, and not a linear-thinking, organised person. So perhaps instead of trying to become linear – I should come up with creative solutions to my problems.

Part of me still very much wants to just go with the flow, and just see what happens along the way. But another part of me really wants to break the cycle of not moving forward in certain areas of my life. I think if things were good financially, then I would feel more justified in going with the flow, because I could afford to. Which might not make a scrap of sense, but it seems to make sense to me.

Anyway, my plan now, is to create creative solutions for the areas of my life I’m not happy with. I think the solutions need to be very visual, colourful, fun and maybe even a bit silly. But I’m not sure yet what they looks like or where they’ll come from.

What I have realised, is that having a structured routine might just not be the right way forward for me. So although I have daily ‘action’ lists, I don’t stick to rigidly to doing each thing at the same time each day, as long as I can tick it off the list by the end of the day, when it happened doesn’t matter. Though I have been trying to fit my walk in before dark!

I consider my adventure to be successful so far, as I feel quite calm and peaceful, which I think is down to the meditation. In all the years I have been reading spiritual self-help books, I have never had the daily practice of meditation. But I can see now, finally, why so many people swear by it! It creates a space in your head, it makes room for growth, for new ideas, for love to envelop you. In fact, I think I may sign off now to meditate for a while.

How are your New Year plans coming along?

Listen to Your Gut – Not the Experts

I should be writing right now, but when the blog post inspiration faerie arrives, there’s absolutely no ignoring her!

Something suddenly struck me today, and I am going to try to explain it, in the hopes that if anyone out there has a similar experience, it may help.

In the last few months, I have had a couple of experiences with people who I have considered to be respected experts in their field, who are worth listening to, and taking their advice. They are very successful, have a lot of experience, and have based their businesses on helping others to achieve the same success.

Earlier in the year, I had the chance to attend an evening workshop with a lady whose book had inspired me years ago, but whom I had never met until then. I had a lot of respect for her because her story was so inspirational, and she was devoted to helping others to achieve their true potential.

I arrived at the event, I was having a good time, and was joined by a dear friend of mine for the evening. As part of the workshop, she was doing some short coaching sessions, and my friend was chosen to take part. When my friend said what her aspirations were, which included self-publishing her books, the lady’s response was – “Bulls**t. You will never make money doing that.”

When my friend tried to explain that self-publishing was quite different these days to how it used to be, the lady was not interested. She said that why anyone would want to self-publish was beyond her.

In that moment, my respect for her began to slip.

I could understand a traditionally published author having that point of view ten years ago, but the industry really has completely changed since then, surely, if she is advising people on their businesses, she would know that?

While chatting later, I spoke to her a little about how different the industry is, and she seemed surprised, but not particularly interested in learning more. And when it became apparent that I was not in the financial position to pay for one of her coaching packages, her response was – “Come back to us when you have the money.”

Wow. Bubble totally popped. In fact, the copy of her book that I had kept for so long, found its way into the car boot stuff a few weeks ago. And when it didn’t sell, it went to a charity shop.

I recently had another experience with someone who I thought wanted to help my business (my book writing and publishing) to flourish and grow, but it turned out that what she wanted was for me to create ‘products’ like video series’ and courses, to sell and make money with. It didn’t even really matter what the product was, as long as it sold. I felt uncomfortable with the concept, and I didn’t get the feeling that she liked me very much, which made me even less inclined to get more involved and put a lot of time and energy into her business. Later on, she even said several times that writing books was not the way forward, it takes too long. Videos are the only way forward. Unfortunately, I am a writer, and that’s not going to change.

When I finally admitted that I didn’t want to be a part of her business, her response confirmed my feelings – she really didn’t want the best for my business at all, and in her opinion, I wasn’t ‘ready’ to be a part of what she was creating.

It was after this experience, that I realised something. When around these successful experts, who are building their businesses around empowering people to follow their dreams – I feel completely disempowered. I feel like a small child who is below them. I’ve been thinking about the reasons for this, and I am fully ready to accept that it may well be my issue not theirs, but I wonder if I am the only one to feel this way?

I’ve been reading The 7 Graces of Marketing recently, and there was a story recounted in there about a coach trying to sell the author a course, that cost thousands of dollars, and when the author declined, the coach tried to make her feel like a failure for doing so.

After reading about the old paradigm of marketing in her book, I have come to realise that perhaps those who have been in business for a long time, are just accustomed to these old marketing tactics – as we, the general population, are conditioned to respond to these old marketing tactics. And when someone says – actually, this doesn’t feel right to me – their response is to make us feel like we will never succeed because we are not doing things their way.

But then it all comes down to your definition of success. If success is having lots of money – then I am a failure. If success is selling lots of products – then I am a failure. If success is being famous – then I am a failure.

On the other hand, if success is helping people to feel a little less lonely in the world – then I am a success. If success is encouraging people to listen to themselves, to really get to know themselves and then to dream big – then I am a success. If success is inspiring others to changes their lives because of your words or actions – then I am a success.

When it comes right down to it – success and failure are just words. It is our perception and attachments of feelings to the words that causes them to mean anything at all. All I know is, whether I succeed or fail, I want to be able to say – I was authentically myself, I followed my heart, I listened to my gut and I did my best.

The Earth Angel Training Academy

Why I Love Being Indie

While chatting to my editor about Indie publishing versus traditional publishing today, it occurred to me that when I write, I love the uncertainty of not knowing where the story will go, but when I publish, I love the certainty of knowing that it is going to be a published, printed book.

Many writers are the opposite. They plot and plan their novels, knowing every twist, turn, sub plot and cliffhanger, crafting their masterpiece exactly how they envision it. Then they print off copies, put them in envelopes, and start sending them to agents and publishers, hoping that someone will recognise the book for the genius manuscript that it is. They have no idea if they will even get a reply from said agents and publishers, let alone an acceptance from them.

I used to think that I was just too lazy to be traditionally published, that I couldn’t be bothered with the query process (which always seemed arduous, painful and long)  But I have just realised that it’s the uncertainty that I cannot handle. Which is why after I wrote Heaven dot com, fourteen years ago, I stopped writing. Because it was just too hard to get published, so why bother writing stories that would never be read? It was the evolution of Indie publishing that then made me think that perhaps I should write more, and motivated me to start writing novels. (Chris Baty’s book, No Plot? No Problem! also spurred me to write)

I’m not the kind of writer who must write every day. I’m the kind of writer who writes to share ideas, thoughts and channellings, with as many people as possible. And so writing without the certainty that I will be able to share the words, does not appeal to me at all.

I do start to feel a little antsy if it has been a while since I wrote anything, and scenes start to write themselves inside my mind, just begging me to write them down. In fact, Elphite fans will be pleased to hear that I have an alternate ending in mind, which I am thinking of writing and releasing soon.

But I don’t wake up at 3am every morning with the urge to write, which I think is both a blessing and a curse. (I hate mornings, but I would love to write more!)

If you are a writer, how do you feel about the certainty/uncertainty of writing and publishing? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

And just because I love it, here is a new quote photo for I’m Here.

im here quote2

On Taking Advice

blue butterfly

I don’t know about you, but as a writer and a creative, I often find it difficult to take advice. Oh, I have no problems in giving advice, I could do that all day. Accepting and actioning advice from others? Hmmm, well, uhh, yeah, maybe.

As an avid advice-giver, I know how frustrating it is, when you offer something advice, or even when they ask you for advice, and then when you give it – they ignore it completely. *cue screaming into a pillow*

First of all, I would like to apologise to anyone who has given me advice in my life which I have ignored, I’m sorry for being stubborn, I’m sorry for thinking I knew best, I’m sorry if it upset you. Of course, I don’t regret a single choice I have ever made in my life, because it has brought me to where I am right now, and I wouldn’t change that for anything. But there is a chance that had I heeded some of the advice along the way, I could have got here without so many obstacles.

Conversely, I have been given advice over the last few years, that I HAVE followed, only to realise later that perhaps the person dispensing said advice did not have the best intentions for me. So, I have decided that there must be some kind of method, some sort of formula for which advice should be followed, and which should be ignored.

The criteria that should be met by someone whose advice I will give serious consideration to, is as follows:

1. They genuinely want me to succeed in whatever the advice is given for (whether it’s my business, relationship etc.)

2. They’re not profiting from the advice they’re giving (this is a tricky one, will address this further below.)

3. They are an expert in that field, and they have tested out their own advice.

4. I would trust them with my life. (or at least with my livelihood and happiness!)

(I believe that advice that comes from a source that does not meet the above criteria, should be treated with caution.)

In the past few years, I have taken advice from people who have not met the above criteria, and it has not been good advice for me. I took relationship advice from someone who I found out later, did not want my relationship to succeed, and though I don’t regret what happened as a result, it made me realise that perhaps I was just a little too trusting, and didn’t listen to my intuition.

The part on profiting from the advice, well, that is tricky. Because someone might be advising me to do a course or buy a product, that will genuinely help me. Yes, they might be making money from the transaction, but it could be exactly what I need to change my life. But there are so many just trying to make money, who aren’t really interested in me or my success, and that’s why I need to look at all four of the points above before deciding.

I run a small Indie Publishing business, called The Amethyst Angel, and I get queries from authors who want me to work with them to independently publish their books. Often they say they just want formatting, or proofreading, as they don’t feel it needs any editing work, they’re happy with it they way it is. The first thing I will do (which I don’t charge for) is to read the manuscript. And I warn them that I will be completely and utterly honest about what I think. I have told some authors that I think they need to completely re-write the book before considering having it edited, and I have told some authors that it needs editing before it can be proofread and formatted. Sometimes, they listen, and we work together and produce awesome books, and also become very good friends, after all, I genuinely want them to succeed. And sometimes, they don’t like my advice, and they go and find someone who will just format it and publish it, as it is, with no further work done on it.

Being an Independent Author means that it’s entirely your choice. It’s their choice to ignore my advice, and that’s fine, after all, my opinion may not be the same as others, and I accept that. But what I want them to know, if that I’m not giving them that advice so I can make money from them. I am giving them that advice so that the standard of Indie books is raised up just a little more. At the end of the day, I am an Indie Author. I am on the author’s side. I would never tell an author that a book needs work when it doesn’t because it would be a waste of my time and their money. And I will not work on a book that isn’t even ready to be edited, because it would end up costing the author too much. I would always advise them to re-write, revise, and find willing beta readers who will help them first.

I apologise for my rant. But I do feel very strongly that this is an important issue. If Indie Authors want to be seen as professionals, if they want to be taken seriously in the publishing world, then it’s time they started producing professional pieces of work. Now, I’m not saying that as an Indie Author, I have it all figured out, because I don’t. In fact, I’m currently re-branding three of my books because my original covers and blurbs aren’t cutting it. I created the covers myself, and though I thought they were good, and others seemed to agree, I realise now that they do not do the books justice. Because whether we like it or not, a large percentage of people do still judge a book by its cover!

I will keep you updated on the new covers, they should be ready to be revealed very soon, and I hope that my advice on taking and ignoring advice was useful to you! Have a wonderful week 🙂

Final Full-cover Reveal!

Apologies for the lack of posts, I have literally been so busy I have not stopped! I have been mainly working on the final copy of The Other Side and party planning. Post-party (which will have its own blog soon!) I am now back to my publishing projects and getting my books published. I know I keep pushing the release date back, I blame it on Mercury being in retrograde… The release date for The Other Side and for the new editions of The Earth Angel Training Academy and The Earth Angel Awakening is now set as the 13th November 2013.

The final covers are now done, thanks to Jason Mordecai of Dark Horizons Media and Liz Gordon of madapple designs. Without further ado, here they are:

The Earth Angel Training Academy

The Earth Angel Awakening

The Other Side

Launch of The Amethyst Angel website

the amethyst angel

For the last year, I have been assisting fellow Indie Authors with their publishing ventures. Myself and my editor, Elizabeth Lockwood, under the name of Purple Self-Publishing Services, were helping them with editing, proofreading and formatting their books, as well as helping with cover design and the actual publishing process, in print and online. Recently I have decided to revert back to my business name, The Amethyst Angel, which is also my publishing imprint name.

Instead of just offering guidance and assistance on the publishing side, however, I wanted to create something of a community of Indie Authors, who help each other in the selling and marketing process, to make the whole process just a little less lonely. So I have created my new site, and on it, I have featured the authors that I or Elizabeth have helped, and their books. The website will grow and evolve, as we help more and more authors, and as the community builds.

Being an Indie Author does not have to be a solitary, lonely venture. Let’s join together and make the journey together! If you are an Indie Author, or you would like to be, please do get in touch, I love to chat!

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Indie Author Insight – J. Lawrence

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This week I interviewed Indie Author J. Lawrence. Lawrence is the author of Inborn. On Spirituality Do you believe in Angels or Faeries? I believe that there are other beings out there just beyond our senses. I don’t really know … Continue reading

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Visionary Author Insight – Jodine Turner

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This week I interviewed Visionary Author Jodine Turner. Jodine Turner is a best-selling, multiple award winning author of YA/Adult visionary fiction, magical realism, and fantasy. She is also an Adorata Practitioner in the spiritual path of embodying divine love and balancing … Continue reading

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Visionary Author Insight – Saleena Karim

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This week I interviewed Visionary Author Saleena Karim. Saleena is also a fellow founder of the Visionary Fiction Alliance and the author of Systems. On Spirituality Do you believe you came from a different realm in a past existence? That … Continue reading